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Sunday, November 7, 2010

"That boys may still dream dreams and live to fulfill them."

From a talk by Thomas S. Monson in a special Aaronic Priesthood and Scouting Training Broadcast in 2007:

Several years ago a group of men, leaders of Scouts, assembled in the mountains near Sacramento for Wood Badge training. This has been an annual event where men camp out and live as do the Scouts they teach; it is a most interesting one. They cook, and then they have to eat their cooking. They hike the rugged trails, which age invariably makes more steep. They sleep on rocky ground. They gaze again at heaven's galaxies.

This particular group provided its own reward. After days of being deprived, they feasted on a delicious meal prepared by a professional chef named Dimitrious, who joined them at the end of their endurance trial. Tired, hungry, a bit bruised after their renewal experience, one asked the chef why he was always smiling and why each year he returned at his own expense to cook the traditional meal for Scouting's leaders in that area. He placed aside the skillet, wiped his hands on the white apron which graced his rotund figure, and told the men this experience. Dimitrious began:

"I was born and grew to boyhood in a small village in Greece. My life was a happy one until World War II. Then came the invasion and occupation of my country by the Nazis. The freedom-loving men of the village resented the invaders and engaged in acts of sabotage to show their resentment.

"One night, after the men had destroyed a hydroelectric dam, the villagers celebrated the achievement and then retired to their homes.

Dimitrious continued: "Very early in the morning, as I lay upon my bed, I was awakened by the noise of many trucks entering the village. I heard the sound of soldiers' boots, the rap on the door, and the command for every boy and man to assemble at once on the village square. I had time only to slip into my trousers, buckle my belt, and join the others. There, under the glaring lights of a dozen trucks, and before the muzzles of a hundred guns, we stood. The Nazis vented their wrath, told of the destruction of the dam, and announced a drastic penalty: every fifth man or boy was to be summarily shot. A sergeant made the fateful count, and the first group was designated and executed."

Dimitrious spoke more deliberately to the Scouters as he said: "Then came the row in which I was standing. To my horror, I could see that I would be the final person designated for execution. The soldier stood before me, the angry headlights dimming my vision. He gazed intently at the buckle of my belt. It carried on it the Scout insignia. I had earned the belt buckle as a Boy Scout for knowing the Oath and the Law of Scouting. The tall soldier pointed at the belt buckle, then raised his right hand in the Scout sign. I shall never forget the words he spoke to me: 'Run, boy, run!'

"I ran. I lived. Today I serve Scouting, that boys may still dream dreams and live to fulfill them."

Dimitrious reached into his pocket and produced that same belt buckle. The emblem of Scouting still shone brightly. Not a word was spoken. Every man wept. A commitment to Scouting was renewed.

It has been said that "The greatest gift a man can give a boy is his willingness to share a part of his life with him." Aaronic Priesthood leaders, Scout leaders, may you make the commitment to share your lives with our precious young men. They depend on you. Their very salvation may be at stake. You can build a bridge to the heart of a boy and can help to guide his precious soul back to our Father in Heaven.

May such be so, I pray, in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.

1 comment:

firebirdluver said...

I've heard several stories similar to this where a boy's or man's life was saved during WW II because of his association with the Boy Scouts. I really is an honor to be involved and to be recognized as an elite member of society. And any boy or adult with the drive and motivation to do it can BE a scout; it is completely without respect to nationality, race, religion or financial status. I love the scene in "The Great Escape" where James Garner talks about merit badges with the Ferret (Robert Graf).